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My girlfriend is in the process of booking a trip for her and friend to Austin, TX in March.

A blizzard is forecast for the northeast and she noticed ticket prices climbing for mid-March (~$65 in the last day, some right in front of her eyes).

Should she wait to purchase the tickets or should she buy them now?

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Where is she travelling from? This can make a big difference. –  Mark Mayo Feb 8 '13 at 0:31
6  
I doubt the Nor'easter can be blamed for any price increases. Prices always go up for March travel in North America because that is when spring break is for university students, and for many elementary and secondary school students as well. –  choster Feb 8 '13 at 0:50
    
In addition to @choster. There is a significant climb in fuel prices. –  Karlson Feb 8 '13 at 12:58
    
I think you're making assumptions that the blizzard is related. mid-March is over a month away; the prices are mostly likely almost completely unrelated to the blizzard. –  Andrew Ferrier Feb 8 '13 at 17:22
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1 Answer 1

Airline fares will typically change at 90, 30, and 15 days before a given flight, based solely on demand for the flight. As in, if the flight is full or more full than they expected, then prices for any remaining seats may jump a fare class. However, airlines hate empty flights, so if they flight is emptier than they were expecting, then they'll reduce fares, but only to a point. Also, if a flight is selling really well, then seats may jump a fare class automatically. All in all, fares fluctuate based on demand, and demand alone.

This is all going to say that you should get familiar with the different fare classes that the airline offers, and buy if the offered fare class is low. (For example, with Delta the "low" fare classes are L, U, T, and E, while the "high" classes are Y [full fare], B, M, K, and Q.)

Now, inclement weather can affect demand for flights surrounding the dates of the storm, and can thus drive prices up, but this typically only lasts 5-10 days, not a full month.

Also, almost none of the above applies to pleasure-travel airlines, like Southwest or Allegiant, as they typically don't sell many seats closer than 30 days out, and don't have nearly as many fare classes as larger airlines do. With those airlines, you typically will not see any decrease in price over time.

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